Home Affairs eases New Zealand visa requirement, after tit-for-tat row

New Zealand is one of seven countries where SA Tourism can now boost its marketing

11 July 2019 - 08:12 By timeslive
SA Tourism hopes the new visa waivers will significantly increase tourist arrivals into SA.
SA Tourism hopes the new visa waivers will significantly increase tourist arrivals into SA.
Image: Sharief Jaffer

Seven countries have been added to the visa waiver list for travel to SA by the department of home affairs, including New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates and Ghana.

The others are Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Qatar and Sao Tome and Principe.

The announcement was made by home affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi during the department of home affairs budget vote speech in parliament on Wednesday.

“This is amazing news and could not have come at better time for the tourism industry,” SA Tourism acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini, said on hearing that citizens of these countries no longer require visas to visit SA.

“As we look to achieve our (target) to increase international tourist arrivals by 4 million and domestic holiday trips by 1 million, the visa waivers will go a long way to assisting the increase of tourist arrivals into SA.”

The loosening of visa requirements for New Zealanders ends a long-standing impasse. SA had imposed a visa requirement on New Zealand citizens in January 2017. This was in retaliation for that government doing the same to South Africans at the end of 2016 amid concerns about people trying to enter NZ with forged SA passports.

Meanwhile, Dlamini also welcomed the commitment by the SA government to employ additional staff to key markets where there is high demand for visas to decrease the visa waiting time.

“Home affairs offices that process visas for India, China and Nigeria will receive additional human resources, (this) is a further indication and commitment by government to ensure that the tourism industry is prioritised,” said Dlamini.


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